Venezuela Targets Opposition Leader With Travel Ban, Bank-Account Freeze

Venezuela Targets Opposition Leader With Travel Ban, Bank-Account Freeze

The disputed president Nicolás Maduro is still clinging on to power and has broken diplomatic ties with the US government.

President Trump also noted in his tweet that Guaido "is being targeted by Venezuelan Supreme Court", a reference to a request by the country's attorney general, Tarek William Saab, for the high court to prevent Guaido from leaving the country and block his financial accounts.

National security adviser John Bolton alerted Maduro and his supporters that any move to intimidate or target American diplomats or Guaido in the South American country would be met with a "significant response".

Guaido has thus far managed to avoid arrest and the Supreme Court did not strip him of his legislative immunity, though the new investigation could signal that Maduro's administration is moving to take a more punitive approach. "Our hope is that, in what we believe will be the final period of the regime, it does not use violence to try to prolong its days in power", Abrams said.

"The transition will require support from key military contingents".

The US State Department said on Tuesday it had certified Mr Guaido's authority to control certain assets held by US-insured banks, including Government and central bank accounts. On January 29 Washington imposed sanctions on Venezuela's oil company PDVSA and put some of Venezuela's assets in U.S. banks under Guaido's control.

A former union leader, bus driver and foreign minister, Maduro has overseen a shrinking economy and the migration of 3 million Venezuelans fleeing shortages and hyperinflation.

Mr Maduro called the sanctions "criminal" and vowed to challenge the U.S. in court.

The flight, operated by Russia's Nordwind Airlines, left Venezuela at 4.52 pm local time (2152 GMT), a Reuters witness said.

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Last week, a group of soldiers rose up against Maduro.

Large protests are planned across Venezuela on Wednesday to increase pressure on President Nicolas Maduro to step down.

In an early morning tweet, Trump warned US citizens against traveling to Venezuela, given the unrest.

The court also said prosecutors could investigate Mr Guaido, in apparent retaliation for sweeping United States sanctions on oil firm PDVSA.

"I want to send a message to the people of the United States to alert them of the campaign, the media, communications, and psychological war developing in worldwide media and particularly the communications platforms in the United States against Venezuela", Maduro said.

At least 40 people have been killed in clashes with security forces nationwide and at least 850 arrested since January 21 when a brief military rebellion was put down in Caracas, according to the United Nations human rights office in Geneva.

And the prospect of the United States using force to oust Mr Maduro increased after White House national security adviser John Bolton was seen on TV holding a notepad containing the note "5,000 troops to Colombia", which neighbours Venezuela.

According to the United Nations, 2.3 million Venezuelans have left the country since 2015.

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